MayweedBotanical Name: Anthemis cotula
Family: N.O. Compositae
Synonyms: Maroute. Maruta cotula. Cotula Maruta foetida. Manzanilla loca. Dog Chamomile. Wild Chamomile. Camomille puante. Foetid or Stinking Chamomile or Mayweed. Dog's Fennel. Maithes. Maithen. Mathor.
Parts Used: Flowers, leaves.
Description: This annual herb, growing freely in waste places, resembles the true Chamomile, having large, solitary flowers on erect stems, with conical, solid receptacles, but the white florets have no membraneous scales at their base. It is distinguished from the allied genera by its very foetid odour, which rubbing increases.
The whole plant, including the fennel-like leaves, has this odour and is full of an acrid juice that has caused it to be classed among the vegetable poisons; it is liable to blister.
Its action resembles that of the Chamomiles, but it is weaker, and its odour prevents its general adoption.
Bees dislike it, and it is said to drive away fleas.
The flowers must not be gathered when wet, or they will blacken during drying.
Constituents: The flowers have been found to contain volatile oil, oxalic, valeric and tannic acids, salts of magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium, colouring matter, a bitter extractive and fatty matter.
Medicinal Action and Uses: The flowers are preferred for internal use, being slightly less disagreeable than the leaves. In hysteria it is used in Europe as an antispasmodic and emmenagogue. Applied to the skin fresh and bruised it is a safe vesicant. A poultice helpful in piles can be made from the herb boiled until soft, or it can be used as a bath or fomentation.
It is administered to induce sleep in asthma. In sick headache or convalescence after fever the extract may be used.
A strong decoction can cause sweating and vomiting. It is said to be nearly as valuable as opium in dysentery. It has also been used in scrofula, dysmennorrhoea and flatulent gastritis.
Dosage: Of infusion, 1 to 4 fluid ounces.
A. arvensis is considered in France to be one of the best indigenous febrifuges.